Owners of the state’s restaurants, bars and taverns told members of the Pennsylvania House Majority Policy Committee on July 28 the industry cannot survive the governor’s extreme COVID-19 restrictions on indoor dining and bar seating. The committee was called in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s July 15 order that required restaurants, bars and taverns to reduce their operations to just 25% capacity for indoor dining, while any bars or nightclubs that only serve alcoholic beverages and no food had to close completely. It is the first in a series of hearings in which the House Republican Caucus plans to work to develop policies to help the state and various business and industry sectors recover from the impacts of COVID-19 mitigation.
Over the last four months, owners and employees at bars and restaurants have been jumping through hoops to comply with the ever-changing orders coming down from the Wolf administration in hopes of helping their businesses survive the pandemic. Then, on July 15, the rug was pulled out from under them as they were ordered to cut back their business even further with less than 12 hours’ notice and no real explanation about why from the governor or secretary of Health.
These hard-working men and women have always taken seriously their responsibility to protect the health and safety of their employees and customers, and yet they are being singled out as a culprit in the spread of the virus without any evidence to back up those claims. They are fighting for their professional lives and their right to work and support their families, and for the right of their employees to do the same. They deserve better from their government, and that’s why we chose to hold this hearing. They need to know their voices are being heard and that we want to help.
PA Rep. Martin Causer (R-Cameron/McKean/Potter)
Chair, Pennsylvania House Majority Policy Committee